I was planning my usual ‘in celebration of autumn’ blog. You know the kind of thing, a wild mushroom recipe, with some photos of woodland scenes with early autumn colours. But in the unusually hot weather my chillies have ripened rapidly, and last Wednesday, when the temperature was 32°C, I decided to make Gazpacho, using some of the chilli harvest.
This year I planted Jalapeno, Serrano, a large mild chilli of unknown variety, and my old favourite Trinidad. Trinidad, as you may remember from earlier blogs, is of species chinense – a habanero type chilli, but with virtually no heat.
Gazpacho, if you did not know, is a chilled soup made from raw vegetables and stale bread from the Spanish region of Andalusia. After puréeing, I like to add some chopped raw vegetables to add a bit of texture. I duly chopped a Trinidad chilli and added it to the soup, but on a whim remembering that Mrs DAVEggie is not quite such a big chilli-head as myself, decided to taste a piece – just in case.
Anyway, once I had stopped frothing at the mouth and my breathing had returned to normal, I began the laborious task of fishing out 90% of the chopped Trinidad I had added. The moral is of course, the heat of chillies can be very unpredictable, so always taste a piece first before adding!
So I present my recipe for Gazpacho, plus another excellent way of using chillies: Piri-piri sauce.
Time: 15 minutes, plus at least 2 hours to chill
Good with: on its own or as a starter
Ingredients for Gazpacho
200g stale ciabatta, or other white bread
200g ripe tomatoes
1 green capsicum
1 red onion
1 green chilli – Jalapeno or Trinidad for preference
2 cloves garlic, (peeled)
50ml extra virgin olive oil
25ml red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
- Skin and de-seed the tomatoes.
- Chop the bread, place in a bowl and pour over 100ml of cold water.
- De-seed the cucumber and capsicum and chop roughly with the garlic, onion, chilli and peeled tomatoes.
- Place in a food processor along with the soaked bread, olive oil and vinegar. Whiz for about 1 minute.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and a splash of water to loosen the soup to the desired consistency (it should be quite thick).
- Whiz again for a few seconds to mix.
- Pour into a bow, and place in the fridge to chill.
- Meanwhile, chop some more vegetables of your choice: cucumber, capsicum, fennel, celery, red onion and place in the fridge.
- Serve very cold, in chilled bowls. Serve the chopped vegetables separately to sprinkle on top.
Add sliced Kalamata olives and chopped hard-boiled egg to the chopped vegetable mix.
This sauce of Portuguese origin gets its name from a type of chilli grown in Africa. It is actually of frutescens species (which is the species used to make Tabasco sauce.) I find any mild red chilli an acceptable substitute (piri-piri chillies are anything but mild!)
The sauce is absolutely delicious and can be stirred into all sorts of savoury recipes. Below I give a couple of suggestions.
Time: 30 minutes
Good in: Portuguese Tuna Rice Bake
Ingredients for Piri-piri
6 large mild fresh red chillies (Serrano would be ideal)
1 tbsp garlic, blanched and chopped
1 tsp salt flakes
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp Chipotle or smoked paprika
½ tbsp paprika
100ml olive oil
50ml red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the chillies on a roasting tray and roast them for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a roasting bag to cool.
- When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and seeds. (I actually like to add the skins and seeds to the wine vinegar, and warm to just below simmering for a few minutes.)
- Place the chillies, garlic, salt, oregano, Chipotle, paprika, olive oil and vinegar (strain if you have added the skins and seeds) in a saucepan, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Allow cool, then purée in a food processor or a staff mixer.
- Store in a sealed jar in the fridge and use as necessary. it will keep for several months, but I bet you use it all long before then.
Suggestions for using Piri-piri
Portuguese Tuna Rice Bake
Time: 45 minutes
Good with: green vegetables
Ingredients for Portuguese Tuna Rice Bake
175g uncooked white rice
20ml olive oil
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tin of tuna, preferably i olive oil
150ml double cream
25ml tomato ketchup
2 tbsp piri-piri
salt and pepper to taste
60g black olives (preferably Kalamata)
60g grated cheese, Gouda, Cheddar or Red Leicester
- Bring water, butter, and 10ml olive oil to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.
- Add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying-pan. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion has softened – about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tuna, cream, ketchup, piri-piri, salt, and pepper. Simmer on low until the mixture thickens – about 5 minutes.
- Place half the cooked rice the bottom of 15cm baking dish.
- Spread the tuna mixture over the rice and cover with the remaining rice.
- Sprinkle the olives and cheese over the top of the rice. Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Bake until the cheese melts and everything is heated through – about 15 minutes.
French Toast – as a lunch snack
- Per person, beat 1 egg and 1 tbsp piri-piri together, seasoning to taste.
- Place a slice of bread in a frying-pan, and when the bread starts to brown, carefully pour over the egg mixture.
- Turn the heat down slightly, and cook until the egg is nearly set through. Turn and cook for 30 seconds more.